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Austria

Paul Hastings in collaboration withPHH
Liquidity Measures

Liquidity Measures

AWS Bridge Guarantees

Government Measure

AWS Bridge Guarantees (AWS Überbrückungsgarantien) are issued by the state-owned Austria Wirtschaftsservice Gesellschaft mbH (AWS) in order to support companies and businesses facing liquidity shortages due to COVID-19.

AWS Bridge Guarantees can be issued as collateral for credit facilities that finance the running costs ( e.g., personnel costs, material costs) or for the deferral of existing credit lines.

AWS Bridge Guarantees can cover up to 80% of the credit facility commitment up to a maximum amount of €2.5m. Current practice of AWS is to apply this limit per enterprise so that more than one affiliated company may apply for AWS Bridge Guarantees.

No collateral is required and AWS Bridge Guarantees can also be used as collateral for the deferral of existing credit lines.

 
Eligibility

Applications for an AWS Bridge Guarantee are open to Austrian commercial and industrial small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) (i.e., companies with fewer than 250 employees, a turnover of up to €50m or a balance sheet total of up to €43m) and businesses or natural persons active in a liberal profession (Freiberufler) provided that they are not overindebted (überschuldet) and/or illiquid (zahlungsunfähig) or are in need of a re-organization under the Austrian Company Reorganization  Act (URG, Unternehmensreorganisationsgesetz) according to the financial statements of the previous financial year.

Companies active in the tourism or export sector are supported by the Hotel and Tourism Bank (ÖHT) and the Oesterreichische Kontrollbank (OeKB) and do not benefit from the AWS Guarantees.

Furthermore, credit and financial institutions and insurance companies are excluded from the AWS Guarantee regime.

 
Supervising Authority

AWS, together with the Austrian Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs.

Applications for AWS Bridge Guarantees can be submitted to AWS by the financing banks of the applicants.

Applications can only be submitted online on the homepage of AWS and must include

  • a bank offer of cover (Bankpromesse) on the underlying credit facility or on the deferral of an existing credit line;
  • a rating of the bank on the one-year probability of default; and
  • a confirmation issued by the bank that the applicant is not in need of a re-organization under the URG.
 
Availability

From 12 March 2020.

Support measures for businesses active in the tourism and export sector

Government Measure

SMEs active in the tourism sector can apply for a federal guarantee (Bundeshaftung) that secures up to 80% of bridge credit facilities (with a maximum amount of €400k per company).

Export companies can apply for a revolving credit line of 10% (large companies) or 15% (SMEs) of their last financial year's export sales with Oesterreichische Kontrollbank (OeKB). The maximum limit is €60m per customer.

 
Eligibility

SMEs active in the tourism sector can apply for support by the Hotel and Tourism Bank (ÖHT), provided that no insolvency proceedings have been opened over the applicant or that the applicant was not in need of a re-organization under the Austrian Company Reorganization Act (URG, Unternehmensreorganisationsgesetz) according to the financial statements of the year 2018.

SMEs and large companies can apply for support by Oesterreichische Kontrollbank, provided that they are active in the export sector and that they were economically healthy before the outbreak of the crisis.

 
Supervising Authority

Hotel and Tourism Bank and Oesterreichische Kontrollbank.

 
Availability

From 22 March 2020.

The maximum term for federal guarantees issued by Hotel and Tourism Bank is three years.

The maximum term for export revolving credit lines is two years (with the option of extending).

Insolvency law related relief measures

Government Measure

To prevent a large number of businesses from having to file for insolvency proceedings because of liquidity shortages or other financial difficulties caused by COVID-19, the Austrian legislator has adopted the following relief measures:

  • Companies which are affected by COVID-19 now have a maximum period of 120 days to file for insolvency, provided they can prove that the insolvency was caused by COVID-19.
  • Further to the above, the Austrian legislator adopted a deferral of social security contributions for the months February, March, and April 2020. In connection with this deferral, the Austrian legislator also stipulated that during this period, the social  security organisations (Sozialversicherungsträger) may not initiate insolvency proceedings in respect of companies that have outstanding social security  contributions.
 
Eligibility

All companies and businesses can benefit from these relief measures, provided that they can prove that their insolvency was caused by COVID-19.

 
Supervising Authority

The competent insolvency courts.

 
Availability

As of 22 March 2020 the extension of the filing period to 120 days will apply to all pandemics and epidemics and therefore is not limited in time.

The deferral of the payment of social security contributions and the associated stop of opening insolvency proceedings on basis of unsettled social security contributions is currently limited until the end of May 2020.

Tax Relief Measures

Government Measure

Until 31 October 2020, taxpayers can file an application with the competent tax office for the reduction of the income or corporate income tax prepayments for the calendar year 2020, provided that the respective taxpayer is expecting a decrease in income due to COVID-19.

If COVID-19 causes an inability to pay in event the reduced income or corporate income tax prepayments, the competent tax office may set the income tax prepayments at zero or at an amount which is even lower than the expected income or corporate income tax for the year 2020.

If the income or corporate income tax is ultimately higher than the assessed and effected prepayments, the tax office is not permitted to charge interest on the outstanding income or corporate income tax payments.

In cases in which COVID-19 causes liquidity shortages, affected taxpayers can apply for a tax deferral or the payment in instalments. Further to that, affected taxpayers may also ask for the reduction of or the non-assessment (Nichtfestsetzung) of late payment interest or late payment fines.

 
Eligibility

The described tax relief measures are eligible to all taxpayers (legal and natural persons) that can demonstrate that their liquidity shortage is caused by COVID-19.

 
Supervising Authority

The local competent tax offices.

 
Availability

The described tax relief measures concern the tax year (Steuerjahr) 2020.